Daugher with older mother in Carmel, IN

Caregiving: Why Is Routine Important?

A Quality Caregiver Will Prioritize Routine

Predictable schedules reduce stress for everyone, but especially the elderly. Have you heard the expression, “creatures of habit?” A caregiver that provides consistency will help aging adults remember what’s ahead and it brings a sense of comfort to them. If an older adult suffers from dementia, daily routines are that much more important.

Benefits of a Structured Routine

Structured schedules for dining, bathing, and dressing provide feelings of safety for most seniors. They typically sleep better with regular sleep and wake up times, as well.

A caregiver quickly realizes that elderly adults who suffer from dementia are less confused with routines, too. They may not remember what they did earlier that day, yet they seem to subconsciously sense what’s coming next in the day. This helps with behavioral challenges, as well, since regularly scheduled dining prevents extreme hunger and reduces stress and anxiety in dementia patients.

As a caregiver keeps a regular schedule, there’s less planning to do and more of each moment with the person being cared for is appreciated.

Plan a Daily/Weekly Routine

Consider the adult first 

If you are a caregiver, consider the person being cared for when planning meals, daily care or activities. Know the time of day when the person functions best. If the older adult already has a routine that’s been ritualized for years, why try to change it now? If waking up early for toast and coffee is what he or she is accustomed to, just follow this ingrained routine. Keep familiar routines as much as possible.

Flexibility is needed

A daily/weekly routine is vital, but flexibility will be needed, too. There will be occasions when the older person doesn’t feel well and they may need additional rest. On better days, an impromptu activity like a walk might be just right.

Keep variety with activities 

Schedule activities for each week, but offer some variety, too, like exercise, cognitive challenges, spiritual nourishment and social time. Discover hobbies that were pursued in the past. Perhaps there are modifications that can be applied to anything that is now too difficult.

Everything in its place

Rearranging personal belongings in the home will likely cause confusion and frustration for your elderly adult. Caregivers should only move things around as needed for safety.

Perhaps you could benefit from some assistance as a caregiver? Home Care Assistance can provide in-home care to help the older adult with as little or as much as you need. Call Home Care Assistance at (317) 316-0804 and get started.

Home care provider discussing delirium and dementia care with son and older mother in Carmel, IN

How To Tell The Difference Between Delirium And Dementia

Cognitive confusion and emotional distress can both be symptoms of delirium and dementia, making it easy for these two illnesses to be confused with each other. The two are distinctly different, however, and it’s a priority for caregivers, medical, and emergency support to understand the difference. Delirium is especially serious and common for older persons. It’s a common complication of hospital admission for the elderly.

What is delirium?

Delirium can be described as an acute problem with a display of confusion, disrupted attention, disordered speech and even hallucinations. Delirium is diagnosed by clinical observation of patient behaviors and medical help must be obtained immediately when a family member, friend or loved one displays potential symptoms. It’s usually temporary and most likely reversible once the underlying cause is treated.

The following are common causes of delirium:

  • Head trauma
  • Drug interactions
  • Infections
  • Dehydration
  • Liver failure
  • Brain tumors

Delirium is commonly found in facilities or hospitals that offer senior care. It can also be triggered by drug or alcohol abuse, UTIs, and pneumonia. Surgery or any procedure using anesthesia, high fevers, sleep deprivation, and severe emotional stress can be problematic, also.

Symptoms of delirium:

  • Behavioral displays of emotional disturbance
  • Fluctuating or drastic mood changes
  • Sudden behavioral changes (e.g. hyperactivity)
  • Inattention or distraction
  • Disorganized thinking or cognitive problems
  • Reduced awareness of the environment
  • Delusions or hallucinations

How can one recognize delirium from dementia?

Delirium and dementia at a glance may seem similar, but delirium starts abruptly and fluctuates in intensity, from day to day or hour to hour.

Dementia develops over long periods of time, beginning slowly with mental decline, and is irreversible.

Dementia and delirium both appear as mental confusion, so how can you recognize the difference?

Why is it important to understand the difference?

Delirium is many times a warning sign of serious medical problems. It may even be an adverse reaction to a medication leading to a medical emergency. Delirium must be quickly treated, or it may create permanent complications or even death.

Delirium goes too often unseen or unrecognized by medical professionals. The symptoms can be too easily attributed to dementia, instead of the acute problem that it is. Immediate medical help must be sought when symptoms of delirium are present.

Many dementia patients develop delirium during hospitalization, but all that one can do is create a quiet, safe and comfortable environment.

Does the senior in your life need dementia care in Carmel, IN?

Call Home Care Assistance of Carmel at (317) 316-0804 and let us provide you with a top of the line dementia care provider for your loved one.